In a dastardly incident on Saturday, terrorists associated with Islamist terrorist outfit Boko Haram launched an attack in Toumour village in the Diffa region in South East Niger. The region has over 120,000 refugees from Nigeria and around 1,10,000 refugees from other parts of Nigeria.
As per reports, 27 people were killed in the terror attack and several people were reported as wounded and missing. The terror attack took place hours before the regional elections across Niger on Sunday. An official informed, “Some victims were killed or wounded by bullets, others were burnt inside their houses, consumed by the flames of an enormous fire set by the attackers…”
He stated that the attack was carried out for over 3 hours by 70 terrorists, leading to the destruction of 800-1000 houses, vehicles and the central market. The official emphasised, “It was an attack of unprecedented savagery. Nearly 60% of the village has been destroyed.” He further added that the terrorists had arrived in Toumour village on foot, after having swum across Lake Chad. Issa Lemine, the governor of Diffa region, had visited the burials of the deceased.
Attacks happened a day before elections
Despite the deadly terror attack, which led to the destruction of life and property, the people of Niger voted in the regional and municipal elections on Sunday. However, another official from Bosso region informed that elections did not take place in Toumour village while it was carried out successfully in other parts of the country.
The voting for the regional elections has been postponed in the past, owing to terror attacks in the Sahel county and southeastern Diffa region. The country is scheduled to have its Presidential election in about two weeks’ time.
Niger has been terrorised by Boko Haram since 2009
Other parts of the country, such as the west and the southeast regions had also witnessed such attacks since 2015. Niger has been subjected to radical Islamist terror attacks along the western border with Mali and Burkina Faso. Boko Haram had unleashed its terror on the country, since 2009 in the north-eastern region and Lake Chad region. Reportedly, 36,000 people have lost their lives while 3 million have been displaced. Boko Haram is a Salafi-jihadist Muslim terror organisation founded in 2002 in Nigeria.
Boko Haram expands its control
In June this year, terrorists associated with Boko Haram and its offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) killed at least 20 soldiers and 40 civilians in Nigeria’s Brono state. The attack came just days after terrorists killed at least 69 people in a raid on a village in a third area, Gubio. Boko Haram is notoriously known for inflicting terror in West African countries with great magnitude. It is based in north-east Nigeria but is also active in neighbouring countries.
Forbes cites a report by Open Doors, an organization working on the topic of religious persecution, which mentions that the terrorist organisations, such as Boko Haram, have significantly expanded their territory. In its report, Open Doors stated that Boko Haram was looking for expansion and eyeing targets of Sub-Saharan Africa.